If you are wondering how to open a bank account for a holding company, then keep reading. We are going to discuss the pros and cons of having a centralised multi-currency account for holding companies and separate accounts for holding companies.
There are several factors to take into account, such as where the directors are based, transfer pricing, and different banks supporting different subsidiaries.
Business Banking for Companies Owned by a Holding Company
It is hard to open bank accounts for companies owned by the holding company. Regular banks are not keen to provide services to such corporate structures, and there are several reasons for that. For example, non-resident directors, or UBOs. Traditional banks usually require directors of the company to be residents of the country where the company is registered and operational.
The appetite for risk among major financial institutions is often limited. While complex corporate structures pose risks and regulatory pressure, there are a few ways to reduce such risks, for example by having the same banking provider for the whole structure. Since one entity is onboarded by the bank or fintech, the rest should pass through compliance easier as the risk profile is already established within the compliance department.
In addition, banks look at the business activities of the holding and its subsidiaries. It is much easier to open banking facilities when all entities are engaged in the same sector or business activity. Or are serving each other in the same industry with clear activity segregation (horizontal integration of businesses)?
Moreover, if currency operations are centralised with the holding parent, transfer pricing kicks in and can cause extra layers of accounting. Quite often, it is more simple to have separate multi-currency accounts for holding owned companies.
Practical Account Opening Steps for Holding Companies
Before submitting your account opening application, you have to prepare it to be in line with what the bank is expecting from you. It helps if you are going to think like the bank thinks.
Banks and fintechs want clarity and transparency in regards to the group or holding structure, source of funds, etc.
You should prepare a clear and understandable organisation chart showcasing the links between companies and their ultimate beneficial owners. A detailed business activity description is especially needed, as from our consulting and work experience in banks, we know how badly compliance people want to understand the purpose of the account and source of payments.
In addition, it is important to prepare some business activity-related invoices that can actually prove the business activity is legitimate and in line with what is being described.
If holding companies are newly established, it is even more difficult. Banks do not want to touch newly formed holding companies. Digital banks and fintechs are very careful too.
In our experience with clients, one trick that works is to submit an application for account opening with a traditional bank, and once the bank responds that the application has been received and is being reviewed, submit the same application to a fintech company, adding the bank's response. It shows that your company is pursuing traditional bank accounts and that fintech is not the last resort, which puts a lot of fintech companies off.
It is also extremely important to justify non-resident directorships. It really helps if a parent or holding company opens a subsidiary directly as a 100% owner rather than with mixed ownership. This would signal the bank that you are just expanding the business in another country.
Every instance is very different, as holdings are special corporate actors. We have helped multiple holding companies with account opening, and if you are looking for tips or help, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation or an introduction to favourable banking providers.
All in all, banks and FinTechs are very careful with holdings and holding companies. In the past few years, financial service providers have become more restrictive in regards to complex corporate structures; therefore, it is important to prepare the bank account opening application in a way that the banks want to see it. We can help you do exactly so; reach out to us for more information.